Vanessa Davies lecture 3/30/17

This talk looks at the understanding of ancient Egyptian culture in the works of three prominent black writers of the early 20th century. W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey both incorporated a vision of ancient Egyptian culture into their writings. Attacking a common theory of their day, they used ancient Egyptian culture to argue for the humanity of black people, and they marshalled the evidence of Egypt’s glorious past to inspire black people in the Americas with feelings of hope and self-worth. They also engaged with the contemporary work of prominent archaeologists, a fact that has been lost in most histories of Egyptology.

Pauline Hopkins’ novel Of One Blood places the reality of the racial discrimination and the racial “passing” of her day against the backdrop of ancient Egypt. The drama that plays out in the lives of her contemporary American characters is set against the backdrop of an ancient city which the characters encounter still thriving on the site of MeroĆ« in what is today the Sudan. Hopkins uses her fictional world to address contemporary social realities. Like Du Bois, she advocates for the education of black Americans, and like Garvey, she constructs an African safe haven for her novel’s protagonist.

Understanding these three writers’ treatments of ancient Egypt gives us a richer perspective on the history of the discipline of Egyptology.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

Challis, Debbie. The Archaeology of Race: The eugenic ideas of Francis Galton and Flinders Petrie. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.
Gillman, Susan. Blood Talk: American race melodrama and the culture of the occult. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Keita, Maghan. Race and the Writing of History: Riddling the sphinx. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Knight, Alisha. Pauline Hopkins and the American Dream: An African American writer’s (re)visionary gospel of success. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2012.
Moses, Wilson Jeremiah. Afrotopia: The roots of African American popular history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
O’Connor, David and Andrew Reid (eds). Ancient Egypt in Africa. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2003.
Trafton, Scott. Egypt Land: Race and nineteenth-century American egyptomania. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.

J D Evans Lecture 2/19/17 on Magic, votive offerings, and coins at Roman Sardis

Since the beginning of coinage in the west, people have given their gold, silver and bronze coins to the gods. At Roman Sardis, ancient capital of the Lydian king Croesus, legendary for his wealth, two archaeological deposits give us insight into some of these practices: one contains coins that the worshiper made certain only the gods could use; the second worshiper manipulated coins to appeal to the gods of the mountains and the storms.  Both deposits give us insight into the blurry line between standard religious practices and magical practices, as well as helping us to understand the political and economic fortunes of the city.

Lecture will be followed by an optional gallery tour of Magic in the Ancient World led by exhibition curators Robert Ousterhout and Grant Frame.

Sardis has been excavated by American archaeologists in collaboration with Turkish authorities since 1910. The current campaign was initiated in 1958 by George Hanfmann of Harvard University, followed by Crawford H. Greenewalt, jr., and continues under Prof. Nicholas Cahill.  For full details see

Jane DeRose Evans, Professor at the Temple U, Tyler School of Art, received her Ph. D from U of Penn. A specialist in the archaeology of the Roman provinces, and especially in ancient numismatics, she has just completed a a monograph on the archaeological and economic contexts of the 1973-2013 coins from the Sardis excavations for Harvard University Press.

Pylos, Greece. Tomb of the Griffon Warrior

Complete Abstract:
A sleepy grove of olive trees extends next to the Acropolis where the Greek Bronze Age "Palace of Nestor" stood in the 13th century before Christ.  The palace is the best preserved center of the Mycenaean civilization.  Carl Blegen, the most famous American prehistorian to work in Greece in the 20th century, discovered the "Palace of Nestor" and continued to explore it and its surroundings until his death in 1971. In his final years Blegen dug several deep trenches through this olive grove but found little. And one of his final acts was to cover his excavations there and allow the grove once again to slumber in peace.
And there things stood until May of 2015 when a team from the University of Cincinnati discovered in the olive grove one of the richest graves of the Greek Bronze Age ever found, a find that has attracted the attention of mass media worldwide, including the New York Times.
This tomb of the so-called Griffon Warrior, a stone-lined shaft of modest dimensions, contained the body of a single man, 30–35 years of age, who died in the 15th century B.C.  The warrior had been laid to rest in a wooden coffin, where he remained undisturbed until our day. He had died at a time when centers of military and political power were only just emerging in Mainland Greece.
More than 1500 objects surrounded the warrior's body: gold, silver, ivories, bronze vessels and weapons, gems, beads, and seals (manufactured from precious gemstones imported over great distances). Several grave goods bear designs of great iconographical importance for understanding Aegean religion.  The 15th century was a critical period when a Mycenaean identity was being shaped through the importation and adoption of ritual practices borrowed from the much older civilization of Minoan Crete.
In our presentation we will summarize the work we have been conducting at and around the Palace of Nestor since the 1970s.  We will concentrate on our most recent discoveries in summer 2015, describing the progress of the excavation. Among other important finds we will discuss the iconography of four gold signet rings that are of particular significance for understanding Mycenaean religion in its formative stages.
Both Stocker and Davis will speak, she about the excavation of the tomb, he about the finds from the tomb and their significance.

This event is being hosted by:
The Institute for Aegean Prehistory
The University of Pennsylvania Museum
The History of Art Department of the University of Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Society of the Archaeological Institute of America

Two Lectures by Lorenzo Nigro, La Sapienza University, Rome

Sunday, Nov. 13, 3 pm   
Building the City in Palestine. Jericho Across the Ages and its Image in the Bible
Eighteen years (1997-2015) of archaeological activities in Palestine at Jericho, a site which epitomizes humankind’s conquests and defeats over ten millennia, also provides a valid example of cooperation in the field of archaeology.  I suggest it as a model of how to build up peace in a very complicated international scenario: What is the Past and to whom does it belong? And can archaeology help us in recognizing the respect due to objects of scientific investigations and of relics of the human past? Do archaeological discoveries strengthen appreciation of the material heritage of humankind, and how? What is the relationship between us and ancient peoples?

 Our experience in Palestine may suggest how to re-start a global conceptualization of cultural heritage and—especially –the field of archaeology in the light of respect for a shared memory of diverse pasts.

As part of this lecture, an overall summary of the finds in ancient Jericho and their historical interpretation will be offered to the audience.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .

 Monday, Nov. 14. 6:15 pm.  Coffee at 6.
The Phoenicians at the Ends of the Earth: Motya in Western Sicily and the Creation of Mediterranean Civilization
Fourteen seasons of excavations at Motya (2002-2015) revealed the traces of the earliest Levantine and Phoenician habitation of the central Mediterranean, showing light on the formative phase of Phoenician expansion to the West. The discovery of Building C8 and of a series of wells in the earliest settlement, matched with other recent finds in the Iberian Peninsula (Cadiz), North Africa (Utica, Carthage) and Sardinia (Sulky) have significantly transformed the history of the 2nd and1st millennium BC Mediterranean.

Examining the sea routes across the Mediterranean may help disentangle the intricate roots of our civilization—or suggest that a multicultural/ethnical approach is better for studying the historical scenario of the earliest centuries of the 1st millennium BC, when this enclosed sea became a melting pot for peoples and cultures.

Lecture by T. Carpenter Oct. 4 2016



The question explored in this lecture is: What can a rich visual tradition tell us about beliefs and practices of a people for whom we have no written sources? The Italic (non-Greek) people who lived in Apulia in southern Italy are focus of our exploration, and Dionysiac imagery on 4th century BC figure decorated pottery found in their tombs provides the evidence for the test.

October 15 International Archaeology Day  
details TBA Penn Museum, 10:00-4:00
November 13-15 Lorenzo Nigro, University of Rome.  
Lectures on Jericho and Motya.  
Details TBA. Penn Museum
November 17  

Jack Davis and Shari Stocker, University of Cincinnati.  

From the Silent Earth: The Griffin Warrior of Pylos.  

Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum. 6:00 pm reception, 6:30 
pm lecture.
March 30, 2017 Vanessa Davies, Ph. D.  

An overlooked chapter in the history of Egyptology: 

W .E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, and Pauline Hopkins. 
Penn Museum, 6:15 pm.

Neil Asher Silberman 

Rebooting Antiquity
How Holy Wars, Media Hype, and Digital Technologies Are Changing the   Face of 21st Century Archaeology

Iraqi National Museum Deputy Director Mushin Hasan holds his head in his hands as he sits on destroyed artifacts April 13, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq.

Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Wednesday, September 21 • 6:15 pm.  Classroom 2, Penn Museum
3260 South Street, Philadelphia 

Co-sponsored by Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World Graduate Program, University of Pennsylvania 

There’s a revolution happening today in the way we value, discover, and imagine the past. On the negative side, ancient sites by the thousands—not only in the Middle East but all over the world—are being bulldozed, looted, vandalized, or blown up or merely vandalized. Feature films, bestsellers and specialized cable documentaries hopelessly muddle archaeological fiction and fact. Yet on the positive side, advanced satellite imagery and LIDAR sensors are uncovering complex civilizations in deserts and jungles where none were assumed ever to exist. Virtual reality environments and 3d digital reconstructions are now used both for scientific documentation and immersive museum experiences. And the sheer social reach of Facebook, Twitter, and research-by-crowdsourcing is offering archaeologists unprecedented opportunities to engage the general public in their work. This illustrated lecture will highlight some recent discoveries and ongoing controversies in the Americas, Europe, and Asia that exemplify the dramatic new directions that archaeology is taking in our globalized, internet age. 

Reception to follow with opportunity to meet the speaker.
Please use the Kress Entrance on the east of the Penn Museum. 

For information call 215.898.2680 or contact 
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October 4  
Thomas Carpenter, Ohio University.  
Whose Dionysos? Pursuit of the God in 4th Century BC Apulia.  
Penn Museum, 6:15 pm

October 15 International Archaeology Day  
details TBA Penn Museum, 10:00-4:00

November 13-15 Lorenzo Nigro, University of Rome.  
Lectures on Jericho and Motya.  
Details TBA. Penn Museum

November 17  

Jack Davis and Shari Stocker, University of Cincinnati.  

From the Silent Earth: The Griffin Warrior of Pylos.  

Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum. 6:00 pm reception, 6:30 
pm lecture.

March 30, 2017 Vanessa Davies, Ph. D.  

An overlooked chapter in the history of Egyptology: 

W .E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, and Pauline Hopkins. 
Penn Museum, 6:15 pm.



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At its peak in the 12th and 13th centuries CE, the Khmer Empire controlled much of what we now consider to be mainland Southeast Asia.  The heart of Angkorian civilization lay at the banks of the Tonle Sap, in a series of 9th through 14th century capitals with temples, shrines, and palaces that housed the ruling family and elites.  This lecture showcases two of the greatest architectural achievements in the Angkorian world: the 10th century temple of Banteay Srei (Fortress of Women), and Angkor Thom (the city of Angkor’s last great ruler: Jayavarman VII).  While Banteay Srei epitomizes the refinement of Angkorian aesthetics and architecture, Angkor Thom represents the apex of Angkorian monumentality.  Recent archaeological research in the Greater Angkor region is presented to contextualize these great monuments, and sheds light on the economy and daily lives of Angkorian Khmers.

Coe, Michael D. 2003. Angkor and the Khmer Civilization. Thames and Hudson, London.
Freeman, Michael and Claude Jacques. 1999.  Ancient Angkor. Bangkok, River Books.


FYI, earlier the same weekend:

The World of Phrygian Gordion

A conference accompanying the new exhibit at the Penn Museum, “The Golden Age of King Midas” 

April 1-2, 2016,

Penn Museum

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